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On September 4, Maryland state officials filed this brief in Dorsey v Lamone, 1:15cv-2170. The issue is the state’s policy of requiring almost four times as many signatures for a statewide independent as for an entire new party.
The state’s brief doesn’t actually explain any state interest in requiring more signatures for an independent than for a new party. It just cites the boiler-plate state interest in requiring ballot access restrictions, preventing frivolous candidates and keeping the ballot uncluttered.
The state claims that the independent petition procedure doesn’t really discriminate against independent candidates because parties have the burden of selecting officers and holding state conventions. The historical record shows that the independent procedure is obviously more difficult. In the period starting in 2000 to the present, only one statewide independent petition has succeeded in Maryland, but there have been 27 minor party candidates for statewide office on the Maryland ballot in the same period. The one statewide independent petition that succeeded was that of S. Rob Sobhani, a wealthy individual who ran for U.S. Senate as an independent in 2012. Minor party petitions that have succeeded in Maryland in the time period 2000 to the present include four Libertarian petitions, five Green petitions, one Independent Party petition, one Populist Party petition, and three Constitution Party petitions.
Greensboro, North Carolina Newspaper Editorial Condemns Bill that Moves All Primaries to March (September 4, 2015, 10:51 AM)
The Greensboro, North Carolina News & Record here editorializes against the bill to move North Carolina primaries for all office from May to March. The editorial says the non-presidential primary should remain in May and the presidential primary should also be in May.
Ohio Marijuana Initiative Sponsors Sue Secretary of State to Preserve Confidentiality of Internal Communications (September 3, 2015, 10:08 PM)
Backers of an Ohio initiative concerning marijuana have already submitted over 650,000 signatures on their initiative petition. On September 3, they sued the Secretary of State to block his intent to force the group to reveal all their internal communications. Here is the Complaint in John Doe v Husted, southern district, 1:15cv570.
Ilinois Libertarian Party Asks U.S. District Court Judge for a Status Conference on Ballot Access Case (September 3, 2015, 05:13 PM)
On September 3, the Illinois Libertarian Party filed this request for a status conference with U.S. District Court Judge Andrea Robin Wood in Illinois Libertarian Party v Illinois State Board of Elections. The issue is the unique Illinois law that requires newly-qualifying parties (but not old parties) to run a full slate of candidates. The case was filed in 2012 and has never received an opinion. The status conference request lists the many instances when Judge Wood had promised a decision, but then did not actually issue a decision.
Donald Trump Signs Republican National Committee Pledge to Support the Republican Nominee in November (September 3, 2015, 03:47 PM)
On September 3, Donald Trump held a press conference to show that he has signed the Republican National Committee’s pledge to endorse the eventual Republican presidential nominee. See this story.
California Governor Signs Bill Raising Filing Fee for Statewide Initiatives from $200 to $2,000 (September 3, 2015, 12:13 PM)
On September 1, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1100, which raises the filing fee for a statewide initiative from $200 to $2,000. Proponents file the text of their idea, and pay the filing fee, and then the state government writes a short summary that is printed on the petition. Only then does the petitioning start. California now has the highest filing fee for statewide initiatives.
Ben Schreckinger Article Says Some Voters Plan to Vote for Trump to Injure Republican Party (September 2, 2015, 09:44 PM)
This article by Ben Schreckinger explores evidence that some voters intend to vote for Donald Trump in Republican presidential primaries, not because they support him, but to injure the Republican Party. The article is badly named.
Republican National Committee Asks Republicans Running for President to Pledge Loyalty (September 2, 2015, 08:50 PM)
The Republican National Committee has prepared a one-page loyalty oath, and has forwarded it to all the Republicans running for President that the party considers important candidates. See this story.
North Carolina Legislature Mulling over Moving Non-Presidential Primary from May to March (September 2, 2015, 08:24 PM)
According to this story, the North Carolina legislature is considering moving the May primary for non-presidential office to March. However, the story does not mention that it is possible the state’s legislative districts will be invalidated by the State Supreme Court soon, and it would take time to draw new districts.
Because the legislature is re-thinking so much about election law, possibly there will be room for ballot access activists to remind the legislature that North Carolina requires support from more people than any other state, for a statewide independent or minor party to get on the ballot (when the easier method in each state is compared).
Ohio Libertarian Party Wins Procedural Victory (September 2, 2015, 08:16 PM)
On September 2, a U.S. District Court granted the Ohio Libertarian Party’s request for a new deposition of Gregory Felsoci, the individual who challenged the Libertarian primary gubernatorial petition last year. Felsoci had been deposed some time ago, but since then new facts came out about who paid the $592,000 in attorneys fees for the challenger.
The new deposition will be held on or before September 17.
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